Archive for June, 2015
Priestly Ponderings June 2015
About 2.7 billion people, over a third of the worlds population, live on less than U.S.$2 a day. It causes 21,000 child deaths per day. Over the last year, there has been an increased awareness of the plight of the poor and 2015 will be a particularly significant year for poverty. In May the Pope called on the United Nations to initiate a “worldwide ethical mobilization” that would address the plight of the poor. The Millennium Development Goals (agreed by the United Nations in 2000 and whose aim was to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by 2015) are to be revisited and redefined in 2015.
Although some people feel the UK economy is picking up, this isn’t true for many. The number of people using foodbanks continues to grow (One estimate reaches 1 million).The Bishop of Truro and Frank Field MP chaired the all party parliamentary group which produced the report ‘Feeding Britain’ calling upon the government to eliminate food poverty in Britain by 2020. ”Listen to God: Hear the Poor” was an initiative launched by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster last April when the Archbishops were encouraging churches to join them in praying for the work of the Church helping those in need.
Churches in our Diocese are encouraging us all to raise awareness of poverty by understanding the reasons and discovering how God blesses the poor. So important, however, is to explore how we might respond. So communities and parishes are encouraged to explore the theme in creative, innovative and eye-catching ways, involving local communities where possible. Already a number of folk in our church at Wateringbury have undertaken “Living Below the Line” challenge (living on £1 per day for 5 days) to enable them to experience the hardships of life in poverty. There has also been conferences where we have learned more about poverty and what can be done to tackle it. We also manage our own food bank scheme.
Poverty is challenging and complex. Over the years, countless lives have been transformed when poverty is confronted. The challenges may seem overwhelming, but we really can make a difference as we seek justice for the poor and food for the hungry towards our commitment to tackle the causes and effects of poverty in different parts of the world.
I pray that Challenging Poverty will provide opportunities to make that difference.
Rev Jim Brown